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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

FIRST HALF OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY   373

It must not be thought that the socialistic and the individualistic
views represented by Owen and Spencer respectively were always
so sharply demarcated as in their presentations of them.    More
particularly is this the case with regard to the place of science in
education.   Spencer with a quite sound logic gave an individualistic
bias to the argument for a scientific as opposed to a literary
ground-work for education.   But half a century before, the educa-
tional thinkers of the French Revolution had shown the possibility
of holding a very different view by insisting that the national
education they wished to see established should be primarily
scientific in curriculum.    And George Combe (1788-1858), in
Britain, not only adopted the same view in his Lectures on Popular
Education (1833), but instituted a special school in Edinburgh with
the sciences (including physiology and phrenology) as the main
subjects of study, to support his arguments for a national education
on a scientific basis.   This, too, was the attitude of various scientists
contemporary with Spencer.    Some of them pleaded for the
addition of physical science to the literary studies of the schools
as a fundamental element in modern culture.   " While thankfully
accepting what antiquity has to offer," said John Tyndall (1820-
1893), " let us never forget that the present century has just as
good a right to its own forms of thought and methods of culture,
as any former centuries had to theirs.5'*    Others, again, like
Thomas Huxley (1825-1895), put the case even more strongly
by contending that " for the purpose of attaining real culture,
an exclusively scientific education is at least as effectual as an
exclusively literary education."t   The argument here, it will be
noted, does not rest on the individualistic ground that science
is essential for individual mental discipline—though that of course
was recognized by the mid-Victorian scientists—but on the social
ground that a preparation for life in the world of to-day calls for a
knowledge of the principles and methods of science.   Once the
case for the sciences had been stated in these terms, the way was
open for a reconciliation of the opposing claims of the sciences
and the humanities.   There might be question as to which group
of subjects was of the greater importance for the schools, but no
..question that, both were necessary parts of an education that
prepared for complete living,

* On the Importance of the Study of Physics.
f Science and Education, p. 141.

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